In my work, I create a scaffolding of fabric, piecing, and quilting that allows me to reference many ideas on a single plane. The raw materials are textiles from domestic culture, fashion, family heirlooms, and scavenged prints. I integrate them with fabrics that I have embroidered, stained, dyed, or designed. These materials are pieced together to create the main imagery of the quilt, like a collage. This cloth is then beset with hand stitches, evocative of the slow process involved in construction, and functioning as a layer of ‘drawing’ on the quilts surface.
Like so many women before her, my maternal grandmother planned a collaborative quilt to celebrate my birth, and introduced me to the art of quilting. My work continues a family tradition, but congruently incorporates new information from varied quilting traditions, and my multidisciplinary training in art. Often inspired by painters, I feel an artistic connection with Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Mark Bradford, Julie Mehretu, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, William Kentridge, El Anatsui, Do Ho Suh, the quilts of Gee’s Bend, and the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi."YouTube: youtube.com/heidiparkes
Karin has had some sort of needle in her hand since she was 10 years old and that was over 66 years ago. She has always been a maker and dabbled in many art forms, but textiles are her favorite, whether they are quilts, art quilts, felted objects, or hand stitching. In her previous career before retirement, she was a middle school math teacher. Karin developed geometry curriculum for her 6th-8th graders and always included artwork as its application. Now in her retirement, she enjoys expressing herself with her own studio work and charity quilting for Madison's Healing House, or more recently, the Stoughton Ukrainian Refugee Resettlement Program. Her artwork is on display through May of 2023, at the Overture Center.
"My quilted wall hangings consist of layers of the following techniques: appliqué, reverse appliqué, piecing, natural and synthetic dyeing, needle-felting, hand printing, and a variety of embroidery stitches. There is an overall balance between hand and machine work. Tools I most often employ include a household-use Kenmore sewing machine, chalk, needles, rulers, compass, staple gun, and scissors. I do not use a computer or any imaging software in my work and I try to use hand processes and tools as opposed to electric. By incorporating vintage kimonos, upholstery remnants, and many other secondhand materials, the works are in keeping with the quilt tradition of recycling.
My current thematic focus is the ways in which people impact their environment and, in turn, how the environment affects people. The pieces are influenced by aerial photography, maps, and satellite imagery, but are not always based on specific places. Mining, agriculture, water use and treatment, nuclear power, residential development, and oil extraction are frequent subjects of my work and are meant as visual reminders of the changes we create in the land. Similarly, components of my work demonstrate the influence of nature on our constructs, such as a river changing its course, thereby causing a shift in property divisions, and shifting coastlines due to climate change.
It is the use of maps in organizing our ideas of land that interests me most of all. Often, people ask me for specifics about the places and symbols in my work. Most of my pieces are not based consciously on specific places. For me, they are intimate explorations of map language and imagined landscapes. Through my research and experience, I have decided that maps create more questions than they answer."